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Measuring educational inequality of opportunity: pupil’s effort matters

Author

Listed:
  • M. Niaz Asadullah

    (University of Malaya [Kuala Lumpur, Malaisie])

  • Alain Trannoy

    (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université)

  • Sandy Tubeuf

    (IRSS - Institut de recherche santé et société [Louvain, Belgium] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Gaston Yalonetzky

    (Leeds University Business School (The University of Leeds))

Abstract

The distinction between effort and other factors, such as family background, matters for correcting policies and normative reasons when we appeal to inequality of opportunity. We take advantage of a purposefully designed survey on secondary schools in rural Bangladesh to offer a comprehensive view of the importance of overall effort when measuring inequalities of opportunity in education. The analysis comprises decomposition exercises of the predicted variance of student performance in mathematics and English by source (effort, circumstances, etc.) and subgroup (within- and between-schools) based on parametric estimates of educational production functions. Pupils' effort, preferences, and talents contribute between 31% and 40% of the total predicted variances in performance scores. The contribution of overall effort falls by 10% when the correlation between effort and circumstances is taken into account. These findings are robust to the choice of estimation strategy (i.e. combined within- and between-schools variation models versus multilevel random-effect models). All in all, these results advocate that social determinism in education can be mitigated by individual effort at school.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Niaz Asadullah & Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf & Gaston Yalonetzky, 2021. "Measuring educational inequality of opportunity: pupil’s effort matters," Post-Print hal-03117492, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03117492
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105262
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03117492
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality of opportunity; education; effort; variance decomposition; school;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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